Insatiable 

Take five minutes. Only five minutes. Five minutes to calm. To listen. To be quiet. To pray. To meditate. To stop and smell the fragrance of the scarlet roses in your mother’s front lawn. Slow down five minutes.

Life’s been tugging on me with it’s incessant neediness and each pull feels as if it will take me down with it. 

I want to change the world. Change society. When I see the desperate face of a refugee, there’s a pang of empathy and a desire to help. I see the needless waste of human lives thrown and tossed into the skirmish of wars fought over pettiness or another’s profit. It infuriates me. 

My idealism is a black hole of never finished projects. I cannot save the world. I cannot change society. But I absolutely cannot afford to despair. Or to check out. 

So, I’m taking five minutes. Five minutes to listen to music. To feel the perfection of this moment. To heal. To give. These five minutes I can do. In these five minutes I can reflect and remember who I am. Would you join me?

Five minutes.

I’m not a Jackass Whisperer

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Tenderfoot. Softie. I used to hate those names. Once those words said to me could make my blood boil. I was a tough girl, and I was strong, able to take on the best of you. I ran barefoot over gravel. Snakes, bugs or even toads did not make me squeal.

I might have been a fighter with a big ole’ chip on my shoulder, but yeah, I was still a softie. I fell in love, gushed with pride over my adorable babies, felt pain before and after surgeries, had my heart broken, and etc.

Like Brené Brown, I’ve come to realize being vulnerable isn’t a weakness. Softness holds strength. I’m thinking of the almighty power in the aroma of coffee in the morning. It moves me like no bell of alarm could. Or the giggle of a young child. The smell of dirty laundry. What about the viral memes that flow through society with the ability to change a culture?

“There is no intimacy without vulnerability. Yet another powerful example of vulnerability as courage.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Softness won’t make a terrorist drop his gun, leave that to the pros. Let’s remember home and restore goodwill here. <-tweet  

Ideas for hearts: Muffins and coffee. Fresh flowers and a thank you card. Kind words. A kiss on the cheek. These acts heal broken hearts, mend fences, end strife.

“UnMarketing: “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Respect Starts Here

aestheticism-old-car-wallpaper-high-definition-wallpapers-300x250When I was a young girl, I’d see the guys driving the trucks or the farmers who’d intersect on the road wave to each other. It was a thing that men did. But something caused me to wake up recently and take a look across cultural lines.

In both eastern martial arts and in yoga practices there are standard greetings. Both bow in reverence. Martial arts have variances depending on the disciplines, hands at the sides usually, turning toward the teacher. Respect. In yoga, it’s the prayer hands, a quick bow, and Namaste.

 Tweet this:   Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

My trigger? I was reading a quote about loving your life and was surprised to find the wave, the greeting instructed in another culture.

 

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the66-tecumseh day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. – 

Honor someone today.

Show someone respect,

salute a stranger, smile.

 

Question: So, what does Namaste mean anyway? 

My yoga teacher concludes every practice by saying “Namaste”, and I’ve always wanted to know what it really means. 

Answer: Yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala Weighs In

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. – yogajournal.com

Hey! Don’t stop reading…

It’s Not About The Colors is interesting or try Wait..Don’t Stop Trying

 

 

No Stars For You, Mrs. Johnson

No Stars For You, Mrs. Johnson

Confidence, self-esteem, validation, and greatness.

These are qualities we all crave, but none of them are automatic in life. Many of us grow up trying to find ways to cope. We reach out for our validation and affection in places that aren’t expected. We’re like grass growing from cracks in the sidewalks. Resilient. Stubborn. Read the biography of John Lennon or listen to John Lydon of the Sex Pistols tell his story.

My teacher

I was four and a half when I started school, and that’s when I noticed that I was different. It’s at this time that most of us started some type of formal school. We either fit in or stick out like sore thumbs, awkward and in pain.

Whether we were the culprit that spilled the glue that pooled onto the floor or we forgot to bring a pencil and had to borrow one from another student. At some time there was the look of disgust.

I remember Mrs. Johnson, my third grade teacher and her clock shaped like a black cat. It had a tail that flicked back and forth distracting me from listening. She liked to ridicule her students. With me, she also sighed a lot. I was usually the last in line, not in a big hurry. I never felt she liked me. So here’s my turn around; I give no stars to Mrs. Johnson. Well, maybe two stars for being there on time.

Who is on your list? Is it a teacher or a family member?  I hope you take a moment and give yourself the love you need, because you’re worth it.

The Borders and Two Flags

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...
Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week we filled the sky with waving flags, but it isn’t until next week that my country celebrates its independence from British rule. This week had its own colors and controversies, as many have noticed.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it once again. As a child, I’d walk naively, without the knowledge of borders, not understanding the concept of North side and West side. It’s only as adults that we learn where we supposedly belong or don’t belong. I’d walk inside and outside with a large mirror in my arms, facing upwards so I could only see the ceiling. I liked the openness, the uncluttered feeling. There are moments that I still feel the wild child inside of me stir. She gets restless and wants to run and be free, hating the constraints of the 9 to 5, the should of the day-to-day life. Living in this society means coming to terms with the borders and the rules placed by civilization, but it doesn’t mean being completely tamed. We are never meant to be slaves.

I believe human conventions, pre-conceived notions, religion and the world’s cacophony do not stifle creativity, neither should they. Rather they serve as breaking ground manifestations of the limitless parlay of ideas floating the grand mass called ‘space.’- CL Ngwe-Nwi  A Multi-faceted Creative from her About me page

Life is untamable. Life is wild. Unpredictable. There are no permanent borders. No true boundaries. We try so hard to put up fences. To keep out the bad guys. To grasp on to what we love. But it’s not possible. Somewhere in there is righteous reasoning, but if we aren’t careful, we become like the zealots who kill everything good. We kill instead of healing. There’s a line that get’s crossed, and it has nothing to do with a flag or a country. It has no heritage involved. There are no lasting borders, only love and hate. No flag representing a heritage of shame should fly. Put it in a museum with the other items of shame. But let’s not wave our dirty laundry on the top of a flag pole for all the world to see. Please, America. Let’s have some modesty.

I stumbled upon this ladies writing this week and found her post intriguing. Check her out if you can. http://www.quietrev.com/portraits/gina-stroud/

For Sheila, My Cousin, My Friend

For Sheila, My Cousin, My Friend

This post is a short glimpse into a friend’s life.  She was much than this. It’s my attempt to say goodbye to my friend who we lost this last week in a car accident. She will be greatly missed. — Janet

When you’re ten-years-old, life is simple. Everyone around you is an uncle, an aunt, a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, or a cousin. Other than a family member, you are a stranger until you become a friend or a neighbor.

I grew up in a small town. And that small town raised me. Collinsville had only a population of 3,009 by the time that I was ten, by the time that Sheila and I decided to figure out if we were just friends or if we were family now. It was about bonding. It was about how we mattered to each other. And it was important. Who wants to be just a neighbor when they can be a friend? Or a cousin? Only friends and cousins can do sleep-overs or know secrets.

We were at Sheila’s house. We attended school together since forever but something was different. My brother was dating her cousin. I’m not certain of the relations, but at the time we were solemn about this. We had to be cousins, she had decided. We must be cousins. We discussed it around and around and looked at it from both sides of the family tree. Surely we were cousins if my brother married her cousin. It made perfect sense to our 10-year-old minds.

Hours went by and running out of time, we decided that maybe it didn’t matter. That just maybe we’re all cousins or sisters because God was our father. From then on we were friends and family. I remember several times afterward calling out to each other, “Hello cousin.”

Thank you, Sheila, for being my friend and for being a friend to so many. You gave so much love while you were with us. You were the expressed image of friendship and family. Open arms and a warm heart. You are missing from us today.

Living With Brothers

Living With Brothers

I never wished for sisters. It’s not something I really thought about. Maybe that’s how we all are. We only know what we know and don’t know anything else. I played with dolls. I wore dresses with ribbons and flowers. I was mostly a normal girl. The main difference that I noticed growing up with brothers was that there was no codling. Moms do that sort of thing, cushion you. Brothers don’t. Brothers roughhouse. They wrestle. We fed the animals. I tried to help them work on cars.

Resilience

My brothers taught me take up for myself. They taught me how to be an individual. I learned to change my bike tire and how to fix a flat. I learned from watching my oldest brother that manners were important, things like saying, thank you and please were expected. I learned from my middle brother that it’s okay sometimes to do things for yourself if you need to, because people won’t always do it the way you want, or won’t always listen to you. I learned to be who you are even in the face of resistance.

I did wish at times I could live closer to my cousins. I missed the times we all got together and played hide and seek in the trees in front of their house. Late at night, when the lightning bugs were out and the grownups drank their coffee, it all seemed magical. We played for hours. During the day we’d play basketball or go fishing in the pond. Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m reading.

Thinking we had to talk to connect, I asked her if she’d rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. Betsy sat up, dangled her feet off the dock, and said she’d rather swim in the ocean. She grew up going to Florida with her cousins and they’d spend the entire day playing in the waves, poking jellyfish with sticks and eating peanutbutter-and-jelly sandwiches with sand in them. She and her cousins would lie in bed at night and giggle because they could feel their bodies lifting and falling as though they were still in the waves. Those were some of the greatest days of her life. She asked whether I would rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. I said I’d rather swim in a lake. “Why?” she asked. I said in a lake you didn’t have to deal with the jellyfish and the seaweed and the sharks and whatever else. Betsy thought about that for a moment then reminded me that trying not to get stung by a jellyfish was part of the adventure. Betsy ran her fingers through my hair and kissed me on the forehead. I told her I’d put some jellyfish in the pond if she wanted me to. “It’s worth it to get stung by a jellyfish every once in a while,” Betsy said. “For the occasional sting, you get to go to sleep feeling the waves and you get to giggle with your cousins.” – Scary Close by Donald Miller

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

To End Suffering

I grew up loving the candles, the quiet, the chanting, the sitting and waiting, that I found in religion. The ceremony. It was serious, pure, and poignant. Which to my mind as a child meant powerful. Like weddings and presidential inaugurations.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama

To End Suffering

Humanitarians try to end human kind’s suffering by making the world a better place. To make society better. Can you feed your family? Can you get water? Education? Equal rights? Equal access to funding or resources?  Top 5 Humanitarian Aid Organizations – BorgenProject.org

The Buddha taught that suffering came from our mind. We resist. We think. We worry. Stop these and suffering ends. When suffering ends, we simply are. There is no more “I.” There is no more “Want.” All that remains is the stillness. Even when the good things in life happen, there can be suffering. Good days, bad days. The Buddha, himself, was a man. He also left his religion. He left his home and family. He left his gods. He never claimed to be a god. He only claimed to be awake. In this awakening, he wished to teach others. There was no conversion or baptism or cutting of the flesh.

The wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism.  Killing the Buddha – Sam Harris

Buddhism vs. Humanitarianism

I’d always respected Buddhism with their mindfulness and care for others. Recently I wondered how it differed from Humanitarianism? Don’t they both with to help others? I didn’t know until I explored. There is religion in Buddhism. But how much you want to get into it is up to you and which version of Buddhism you study. Some are heavy on the Karma. Karmic debt. Karmic cleansing. It wasn’t as clean and simple as I had once thought it was.

I never believed in Original sin from my religion, so I can’t see myself picking up Karmic debt. I’ll be as good as I can and see what happens. I can’t follow a guru or wear a toga. I can be kind. I want to see society change. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it can happen. It can happen if we change who we are first. Because, isn’t that how all things start? You can’t make good coffee out of dirty water. And you have to pull the splinter out of your own eye before you can remove the board from another’s eye. At least that’s what I heard from another wise man.

My Take

Helping and giving is my religion. I don’t need people bend their knees at my prayer mat or light their candle with my brand of matches. I hope they can be well and help others to be well. You don’t even have to know my name.

Sold or Sold Out

Sold or Sold Out

I have a gripping memory. A moment that I don’t think that I will ever forget. When I was around 10 years old, a young man in our church was sick with leukemia. He’d already been down the road with several treatments and had been been in remission once, but the leukemia had returned. He’d started the treatments again, but his body was weak. His limbs were thin and he looked almost like a walking skeleton. Everything that could be done, was being done, it was as they say, in the hands of God. As we gathered on a Sunday morning for service, the pastor called for a prayer vigil and a day of fasting. For those not familiar, instead of your normal day of eating and napping, we’d take that time to pray for our friend and keep him in our thoughts. This was all voluntary. I wanted to help. I cared. But fasting. Food. Egads.

The drive home was somber. On the way home we stopped to check on some friends of my parents who hadn’t made it to church. And wouldn’t you know it, they had the biggest back yard grill and barbecue going. I could smell the hot dogs. That was the only thing I cared for at that moment. We’d eaten with them before and it had been heaven on earth. I think that I’d eaten 4 hot dogs and 1 burger if I remember right. Yeah, I was a growing girl. Like a girl with a butterfly net, I lost sight of the man with leukemia, the prayer vigil, the fasting, compassion and all the promises I’d had made in my heart and mind earlier that morning. I only saw hot dogs floating in the sky. Until I heard my dad say, ‘No we have to go. We’ve made other plans.’ No explanation. No talk about fasting. Nothing. But that’s my dad. Quiet. As few words as possible. Conagher like.

Sold

Dad was sold. All in. Now, I’m not saying that fasting is the answer, because, sadly it wasn’t. And I’m not saying that being all in, is the way, or the only way to go. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. It’s a memory I have that has been on my mind. There are times that I feel the need to throw all of my cards on the table. Hold nothing back. Give it all I’ve got. I’m proud of that moment that Dad said, No we have other plans. If he’d have done any other thing, it would seem cheap. Not that the outcome would have been any different maybe, but the heart of matter is showing you care for another human. It was the belief of my family. And in their belief it was the greatest show of caring.

Sold or Sold Out?

My opposing memory is being with those who can’t seem to stay with you for a meal. Or feel a client’s phone call is more important than family time, even it’s scheduled. I’ve had this happen. When I asked why, he said, The client pays the bills. How do you argue that? My thoughts were, if there’s no one here, then you won’t have any bills to pay, but I didn’t say it. I just stewed in anger instead. At the time I thought it was better to be silent than to start a fight. Now I’m not so sure. Sold or sold out? Maybe he was sold also, just to the client. Maybe he was as another had told me, married to the job, more so than me. I was the mistress, the job was the spouse. I think a lot of people these days are sold out and don’t realize it. It’s not that they intentionally go to the crossroads and make a deal with the devil. They just give away a piece of their self a bit at a time. Even I did that when I kept quiet. We do it every day.

This week, I want to be careful, but not in a fearful way. In a way that is awake. I want to carefully step every day on firm ground, one step in front of the other, making sure that it’s the direction I want to go. I’m going to set down the butterfly net, so I can give full attention to the people around me, to those I truly care about.

Holidays 2014

Holidays 2014

It’s that time of the year here in the states when the frenetic energy starts stirring. Just not with me. I usually try to hide as much as possible. I live a short distance from my parents and it seems everyone is traveling here this year. I’m going to keep this short and easy for all of us. So here is my motto at this moment, as always taken from someone else:

The Metta Suttra, translated, reads:

May all beings
be happy and safe,
and may their hearts
be filled with joy.
May all beings live
in security and peace,
whether weak or strong,
large or small,
near or far away,
visible or invisible,
already born
or yet to be born,
May all of them dwell
in perfect tranquility.

A Smaller Life on my tiptoes 07/2012